Thank you for all of your feedback on the way that we care and educate the children at nursery which you gave in our annual questionnaire. We have analysed our results and can see some clear trends.
Overall your responses were very positive and you said that you like the way that you child is settled into the nursery and the steps that we make to support this. You also like the reporting that happens on your child’s development and this is closely followed by positive comments on parent meetings and their value. These two categories have improved significantly over the year. This is pleasing as we have been working really hard to improve these areas. This year, we introduced the new Parent Toolbox talks in the early evening titled Learning at Nursery, Learning at Home. We also providing further practitioner training on how to run a Parent Meeting and give ideas for home learning.
The areas that you would like us to improve are: whilst settling was your most positive response, you gave further suggestions on this. These are mainly centred around communication for example more photos when a child starts
- The quality of the handover in the evening and parent meetings
- Communicating key person changes
- Could we run more talks on child development?
Areas that you would like to understand more on are:
And how we plan, observe and assess your child’s learning together with you
- What assessments go out?
- How frequently children are focused on?
- How often observations are loaded in-between this time?
- How long the parent meeting is scheduled for at the end of the focus week?
- How you will know what the children are doing in the coming week?
- Are day sheets going to be electronic now we have moved over?
- Will menus go on the ILD?
- Our opening hours at Christmas.
We plan to review and reflect on all of these points as a team but in the first instance we can give some initial response on each category.
How can we communicate better, be more reassuring when your child starts? E.g. more photos in the first week
Communication and supporting you and your child settle and move through the nursery was your highest score but we know there is always room for improvement. We always want to reassure you once your child has settled and so will brainstorm some workable solutions as a team and come back to you with thoughts and suggestions. On the taking of photos for instance, this is a balance, as our first priority is always to settle the children and support them and so we would focus on this over taking and loading up photos. We will support the baby team in particular to put their heads together on this one.
How can we improve the consistency of communication in the evening and at parent meetings?
Again, overall we scored highly on this point, but we are never complacent and know we can always improve. It is impossible for us to get total consistency in the morning and evening as the nursery is open 60 hours a week and the usual shift pattern is 40 hours, with many practitioners working shorter, family-friendly hours or studying. However, we know that this issue has been flagged before and we have invested heavily in training and coaching. We will therefore as a Room Manager and Leadership team reflect on this point and consider how we can be more effective.
Communicating a key person change
We will look further into how we can do this more consistently. The way that we work is we will email out key person changes and follow this up verbally with you in the evening. This system does not work consistently as: the key person change might happen quickly (usually because the employee left quickly), at the moment we have a part-time administrator, and it can be sometimes difficult to catch all of you – maybe holidays, or we were busy with the children when you came to collect.
Sophie is back from maternity leave now and we are looking to recruit someone to job share with Sophie and so we are hoping that the consistency of our email communication (which is the fall-back communication) should be back up to scratch shortly.
Could we run more development talks?
We would love to run more development talks. We decide what to run a parent talk on at the moment by evaluating all of the children’s development in the room at the start of the term and look to run parent sessions that would benefit all or most of the children. Sometimes this can be around managing feelings – e.g. the ‘terrible twos’ or other developmental milestones such as potty training, speech or topics like early maths and literacy in the preschool room.
We will think of ways that we could ask you more about parent talks and how best to deliver these. Once we have done this, we may run a further questionnaire or run a parent group meeting.
Areas that you would like to understand more on
How we plan, observe and assess your child’s learning together with you
The questions around planning, observing, and assessing tend to be covered in our Learning at Nursery, Learning at Home talk and so we urge you to attend these. The feedback from these meetings has been overwhelmingly positive. We are running these meetings a month or so into each new term, to give all new families the opportunity to settle into nursery life. In addition to this, we also plan to create a noticeboard explaining our planning, to spend more time focusing and explaining this during your initial visit to us and during your booking process, and put a FAQ section up on our website. In the meantime, please find answers so some of the main questions in the questionnaire.
What development assessments go out for my child?
The current development assessment for your child go out in the week running up to your child’s focus week. They are attached to the email that is sent informing you of the focus week. Always check your spam folder or let us know if you are not getting these. If you would like us to explain these, please do let us know.
How frequently children are focused on?
Termly (ie three times a year) or more often if we are working to help your child close any gaps in their learning. We purposely run our planning this way as we subscribe to a quality over quantity approach.
How often are observations loaded in-between this time?
You might not get many observations in the meantime, only if your child has met a significant developmental milestone, as we will be focusing our observations on the focus child that week. If you have given permission for group observations, you might, due to their nature, receive more.
How long is the parent meeting scheduled for?
We anticipate that the parent meetings at the end of the focus week will usually be 15-30 minutes long, most often about 20 minutes.
How you will know what the children are doing in the coming week?
We focus on the focus child’s interests for the coming week and these can change in a moment. This might be something that the focus child is especially interested in, or can follow on from the week before’ s activities but these will often change as the week unfolds. We plan in the moment and extend the children’s learning. In this way we cannot predict what the children are going to learn tomorrow. But we do always write up what the children have been doing that day on the Parent Noticeboards in each of the rooms.
Are day sheets going to be electronic now we have moved over to a new system?
We asked the ILD this question when we made the switch electronically. But under the new GDPR rules it is felt that there will be a lot of sensitive data being sent over an insecure method. But the day sheet is available through the parent portal. Please speak to us if you are unable to access your child’s ILD portal.
Will menus go on the ILD?
The short answer to this is no, not at the moment. The menus are on the desktop version of the ILD, and also on our website but they don’t change with the day. We have asked about this functionality in the past and we know that the ILD developers are working on other areas at the moment. Our menus are also on our noticeboards. We also refine and tweak our menus every summer and winter and so there can be elements of change and we update you of these in the newsletters.
Our opening hours at Christmas.
We had feedback that we had not communicated our Christmas close sufficiently. We have never opened between Christmas and New Year and this is detailed on in your contract.
Thank you again for all of your feedback. We will discuss this as a team, and so will develop some ideas, possibly ask for more feedback, and look to make changes around the nursery.
Watch this space.